ISI Role in Politics?
The News, April 21, 2008
ISLAMABAD: The man who has ruled Sindh as a de facto chief minister for many years finally lost his powers on Saturday.
Brigadier Huda, who was an ISI commander in Sindh, was in fact the caretaker of the MQM-PML-Q provincial coalition government. He was responsible for running the coalition in a smooth manner. All major decisions were taken after his consultation.
He resolved the differences between former CM Arbab Ghulam Rahim and the MQM many a time. Many provincial ministers even used to say "ooper Khuda aur neechay Huda". The brigadier’s name figured in the power circles of Islamabad in the evening of May 12, 2007. Brigadier Huda was given credit for the show of massive government power in Karachi on that day.
Initially, the MQM was reluctant to hold a rally in Karachi on May 12. The then ISI DG Gen Ashfaq Kayani also had the same opinion that the MQM should not come out on the streets when Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would visit Karachi. It was Huda who played an important role in convincing the MQM not to cancel its rally. He assured the MQM leadership that there will be no riots on that day though he was proved wrong. He was supposed to be very close to the then Army chief General Pervez Musharraf. However, no action was taken against him.
The blasts in the rally of Benazir Bhutto on October 18, 2007 in Karachi were another failure of Brigadier Huda. He was responsible for the security of Benazir Bhutto on that day more than anybody else. However, he was not transferred despite his repeated failures. His downfall started on April 9, 2008, when many people including lawyers were killed in the Karachi violence. It was another failure on the part of Huda. The new PPP government in Sindh felt that Brigadier Huda was still having immense political influence. It believed that he was in contact with the anti-PPP forces. Many important bureaucrats reported to the provincial government that Huda was interfering in different departments. He was more interested in "political makings and breakings" than doing his security job.
After the episode of April 9, PPP leaders asked ISI Director General Lt Gen Nadeem Taj through the prime minister that Huda must be transferred. It took just a few days and Huda was transferred. He was replaced by another brigadier. The PPP gave a message that it means business and it will not tolerate any ambitious spymasters.
There are rumors in the capital that the ISI DG will also be transferred soon but highly-placed sources in the new government dispelled all these rumours. "The prime minister has the authority to change the ISI DG anytime but right now we don't need to change him," claimed a top PPP leader.